The prepress renaissance
Pushing the limits of packaging graphics to help sell products on the store shelf has resulted in a new prepress art form.
Today's package printers are, more often than not, required to be true creative design advisors, offering guidance and suggestions for crafting artwork out of packaging materials and pushing the limits of prepress delivery to enhance point-of-purchase appeal. The result: a new art of prepress, driven to deliver extravagant designs.
Inland Paperboard and Packaging foresaw this renaissance—a change in the way its customers were expecting services such as mockups, design enhancements, and new ideas for delivering packaging. In the early '90s, these expectations were pushing the limits of what packaging could deliver as an expression of art, not just as a product.
As a response, Inland created the Graphics Resource Center (GRC, Indianapolis, Ind.) in 1992 to provide a full service facility to deliver customer service and support throughout the entire production process. Inland executives understood a decade ago that packaging projects were going to demand more interaction from progressive package printing organizations, with much more involvement at the beginning of the design process. GRC offers the expertise of professionals with skills well beyond the basics of flexography and more advanced than just creative designing.
"We often find that design firms and some outside creative people tend to make extravagant designs that look wonderful, but simply are not printable," said Terry Ong, general manager of Inland Paperboard and Packaging, GRC. Redesign is then required, and this is where Inland steps in.
Accomplishing redesigns at this stage requires specific, detailed knowledge in the development of high-quality graphics for packaging; high-quality mini- or full-size mockups; real-time, on-line electronic proof viewing and/or mark-up with customers; and full-service capabilities—all under one roof and all mandatory in today's packaging environment.
Inland demonstrated these capabilities through its work with Naturalle Spring Water. This project's objective was to elevate the look of the package to compete with other bottled waters. The original package was a simple two-color job—lifeless and dreary. Inland's GRC professionals envisioned graphics that would draw the customer in with an image of water in various aspects. They desired dimensional imagery and a vibrant appearance.